Western Sydney Wanderers playmaker Mitch Nichols feels his side’s propensity to start slow was the reason for their narrow loss to Melbourne City on Friday night.
The Wanderers were on the back foot from the start at AAMI Park, with Ivan Franjic’s 19th-minute goal enough to condemn them to a 1-0 defeat.
It wasn’t until defender Aritz Borda was sent off 15 minutes before half-time, reducing the visitors to 10 men, that they got a foothold in the match.
Nichols and substitute Lachlan Scott both had chances to snatch a point in an excellent second-half performance, but it ultimately wasn’t enough.
“I think we had the better chances [in the second half] but we lost the game in the first 30 minutes,” Nichols told Fox Sports.
“We start crap and then had the red card. It’s another individual error and it cost us…it’s not good enough.
“We’ve shown [great character] all year, we’ve come back a lot of times but it’s just our starts that are costing us.
“It’s another couple of points dropped but we move on, we’ve got the derby next week and we have to start taking points.”
The defeat means the Wanderers have now gone five games without a win and they could drop out of the top six if the Jets avoid defeat in Brisbane on Saturday.
Coach Tony Popovic was shattered they failed to take anything away from the match, especially given the manner of their performance with a numerical disadvantage.
“It’s a tough one to take and we’re disappointed we didn’t get a result. It was an amazing effort from the players with 10 men,” Popovic said.
“In the second half we had some good periods there, of course it’s difficult to get opportunities but in the end if we got a draw it wouldn’t have been a surprise.
“It was fantastic spirit from the players. I’m really disappointed they go home with nothing.”
Popovic handed new signing Vedran Janjetovic a debut and the keeper pulled off a couple of superb saves, which augurs well for next weekend’s derby against former club Sydney FC.